How To Push / Bump Start Your Motorcycle

Push starting your bike isn’t that difficult. In fact it is very easy when you know how. Let’s get to the details…

If your bike won’t start, you’ll need to first check what is preventing it from doing so. There’s nothing worse than spending 10 minutes push starting your motorbike only to find out it’s down to something really basic and obvious that you’ve overlooked.

First things to check if your motorbike refuses to start

  1. Ignition Kill Switch: If your bike won’t start, check that the kill switch isn’t open or is set to ‘STOP’.
  2. Fuel Level: Check the fuel level and make sure that you have enough petrol. Is the fuel gauge faulty? Open the cap to see for yourself.
  3. Fuel Petcock: For non-EFI/fuel injected bikes, ensure the fuel tap petcock is OFF.
  4. Kickstand: If the kickstand is down and the motorcycle is in gear, most bikes will not start. Make sure it is up before trying to start your bike.
  5. Ensure that you’re In Neutral before starting the bike. If the motorbike still won’t start after checking the above, then jump starting your bike will be the next course of action.

How To Push Start A Motorcycle

READ THE INSTRUCTIONS IN FULL FIRST!

Much the same as push starting a car, the basic idea here is to engage a gear whilst holding the clutch pedal, then get the bike rolling, and lastly release the clutch. This will turn the engine over, so you can get back on the road.

It may require a few attempts to get going. There are also a few other factors necessary in order to do it properly.

  1. Find The Perfect Spot. Get a couple of friends to help you push your bike. This is definitely the easiest way. Ideally the best place for this is on a gentle hill, so you can allow gravity to do most of the work for you. Otherwise if where you are is pretty flat, you need to push the bike at a reasonable pace before jumping on and releasing the clutch.
  2. Use 2nd or 3rd Gear. To push start your motorcycle like a pro, use 2nd or 3rd gear always. DO NOT USE FIRST GEAR however, as the gear ratios aren’t suited and can potentially lock up your rear tyres.
  3. Press The Clutch & Get The Bike Rolling. Having engaged 2nd or 3rd gear, press and hold the clutch and get your motorcycle rolling.
    If you’re on a hill, start at the top and cruise downwards.
    If your mates are with you, hold the clutch and get them to push!
    Wait until the bike is traveling at a reasonable speed – roughly jogging pace – before releasing the clutch.
  4. Release The Clutch When you’re rolling, release the clutch. The spinning rear wheel will begin turning the engine. Should the engine not start, the bike may need to be rolled slightly faster, repeating steps 2 and 4. It may take a couple off attempts to get the engine going and start the motor.
  5. Put The Bike In Neutral With the engine now running, engage neutral and apply the brakes. Spent a little time (a few minutes) revving the engine to charge the battery faster than when it is left idle.
    The engine will need to be kept running after push starting the bike. If the engine is cold, stay on top of the throttle to get it warmed up. Rev it to the low-mid range of its RPM, but don’t pin it. The aim here is to get the bike self-sustained and no longer at risk of suddenly dying.
  6. Ride it! After you’ve checked over the bike and made sure that nothing is seriously wrong with it, take it for a quick spin to ensure everything’s all good once the engine is nicely warmed up. Do this by going over the pre-ride checks.

Conclusion

It’s fairly simple to push start a motorcycle. You can push or clutch start your bike like a real pro by simply following the above steps.

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